[quoting in particular]
In 1995 the Department of Defense, in concert with the Navy, made the decision to phase out torpedo production, saying that there was no foreseen need and that the industrial base could be reconstituted quickly. In terms of programming, that decision is 10 years old. Development of a completely new torpedo is at the least a 15-year process (probably more like 20 years, given the defunct status of the industrial base for making new torpedoes and the Navy acquisition bureaucracy; see Box 1.1).3 If the Navy is to begin gearing up for new torpedo development, or more appropriately, for undersea weapons development, it should be starting a major technology assessment and development effort within the present Future Year Defense Program. There are no signs, however, that such an effort is forthcoming.
The country could lose its long-held competence in torpedoes. This state of affairs is the result of several factors:
The absence of new torpedo development programs;
A reduction in inventories;
Minimal or inadequate fleet firings and in-service tests;
Proliferation of offshore torpedo technologies, including countermeasures, that are approaching par with existing U.S. technologies;
Export prohibitions that preclude U.S. industries from competing for international business; and
Inadequate investment in S&T against future need.
Industry, which was such a strong player in the past, no longer has an incentive to maintain its competence or infrastructure or to invest in its own research and development (R&D). Funds for 6.4, once robust, are no longer available to stimulate and advance technology. Perishable human expertise and know-how in this unique weapons field are rapidly disappearing. Additionally, the prospect of being unable to compete in the international arms market because of draconian export constraints is a disincentive for industry. Industry is further removed as a participant since most Navy S&T funds are spent in-house.
Inventory reductions are leading to a ?platinum bullet? syndrome: the belief that torpedoes are too rare and precious to waste on low-confidence targets, which will as a result linger as clutter in the battle space unless classified and eliminated. Torpedo firings during fleet exercises are dangerously low (<2 percent of inventory), and the inventory is not being adequately tested or cycled. The need to thoroughly test torpedoes is well established: inadequate testing of torpedoes before World War II resulted in weapons that failed in combat, with catastrophic consequences. The committee is concerned that history may repeat itself.
The end of the Cold War has unfettered European Community and former Soviet bloc arms manufacturers. They are now offering torpedoes, countermeasures, and undersea warfare systems to any buyer. These technologies (at least on paper) appear comparable to or better than anything the United States could now offer. At the present rate of S&T investment (the only source of undersea weapons upgrades), U.S. systems will fall behind. The prospect of this situation makes S &T investment more urgent than ever. Funding for Navy S&T is all that maintains U.S. competence in undersea weapons, and it is inadequate.
That was as of FY 2000. I don't know if the Bush Administration did anything adequate to reverse that sad state of affairs. I note with interest [sarcasm] that the previous administration thought it was a good idea to scrap the torpedo industrial base.
What is it with these idiots?